House of Representatives Fully Funds Alcohol Fund in Proposed Operating Budget
April 6, 2023
CONCORD, N.H.— In a historic move, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today to fully fund the Alcohol Abuse, Prevention, and Treatment Fund (‘Alcohol Fund’) in its proposed operating budget for the first time since the Fund launched more than 20 years ago. If included in the final state budget, the Alcohol Fund dollars will be directed towards substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services under the direction of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs.
The Alcohol Fund was established in 2000 to direct five percent of gross profits from alcohol sales in New Hampshire towards substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery. However, the fund has been consistently underfunded or diverted elsewhere.
This year, the Alcohol Fund has been fully funded at five percent (estimated to be $11 million in 2024-25) in the House-approved state budget, marking a significant milestone for the state's substance use disorder system of care. Michele Merritt, President of New Futures, the state's leading health policy and advocacy organization, commended the House of Representatives, particularly the House Finance Committee, for recognizing the critical need for investing in prevention, treatment, and recovery.
"The Alcohol Fund provides necessary funding for dozens of programs in the state, including evidence-based prevention curricula in K-12 schools, youth tobacco and alcohol surveillance, grant programs for the Multi-Tiered System of Support for Behavioral Health (MTSS-B), juvenile diversion, family support services, medication assistance services, recovery support services, recovery housing, and peer recovery outreach to unhoused populations, to highlight a few," said Merritt.
In addition to the above programs, the Alcohol Fund also supports the Ask The Question program, which provides military culture and suicide prevention training for providers and staff across the state. The program encourages health care, social services, and educational organizations to ask, ‘Have you or a family member ever served in the military?’ and provide resources and assistance when the answer is ‘yes.’
The fully funded Alcohol Fund will provide essential support for substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services for the people of New Hampshire. The House's decision to allocate the funds as intended marks a significant step forward in addressing the state's mental health and substance misuse challenges.
“There are still many steps to come in the budget process,” added Merritt. “We look forward to working with the Senate to further ensure this critical funding remains in place to support the Alcohol Fund and boost substance use prevention, treatment and recovery programs around our state.”